Following October’s release of Google Analytics new features, Google has just released another set of very cool new features. Among them is “Annotations,” a tremendously useful new feature both to analysts as well as executives, who are usually not up to date on granular details about website activity.
The annotations feature basically allows users to make comments on graphs regarding events that happened on specific days. For example, have you ever used Snagit or some other screen capture utility to create an snapshot image like the one below to explain what happened on a specific analytics graph?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Snagit and use it daily to present recommendations, redesign mockups and for anything that needs basic design. But the problem with it is that it creates static snapshots. You cannot just change the view from visits to conversion rates and have the comments still applied to the graph. And it is much harder to share.
The new annotations feature, by contrast, is highly dynamic. As defined on the Google Analytics blog:
Annotations complements existing anomaly detection by capturing the tribal intelligence of your company, which tends to be the most expensive and easily lost resource of all. A simple note from a colleague can save hours of real work (and frustration) for an analyst who is tasked to explain a usually dry set of numbers.
In other words, annotations can be created by anyone involved with the production and promotion of a website for everyone else to see. A few examples:
- The PPC team can announce major changes to their campaigns.
- The SEO team can annotate changes to the website so that results can be tracked over time.
- The PR team can update dates of events, enabling the tracking of offline activities into Google Analytics more easily.
- The media buying team can provide updates of major banner campaigns.
This should help promote teamwork, as everyone involved will be able to understand the whole picture and coordinate activities with other teams’ activities. And annotations will be very helpful to C-level executives too—now they will be able to have an overview of all marketing efforts and see at a glance how they are affecting the website. Here is a screenshot of how the new feature looks:
Google also announced two additional features for Google Analytics. Custom variables can now be segmented through advanced segments and they are also available in custom reports. This adds even more power to current segmentation capabilities in Google analytics.
Google also released a new wizard to create and tweak the Google Analytics code, with a few advanced functions built in. Now it will be possible to configure the code for multiple domains, advanced campaign tracking, mobile tracking and others from inside Google Analytics. This will certainly save a lot of time for those who take on this somewhat daunting task.
Nice holiday gifts from the Google Analytics team!